Notes from Advent in Lost Nation

On Sunday evening, I drove to the Great North Woods to join a small congregation that met in a tiny wood framed chapel to celebrate an Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols. There is no electricity at St. Timothy’s, Lost Nation in Coos County. No plumbing, no heat except that provided by an iron pot belly stove in the middle aisle. Light was provided by flashlights, candles, and kerosene lamps. The service, despite the reporting of the local paper about the growing unpopularity of such traditional services, was packed. Before the readings, we heard the customary invitation to pray “for the needs of God’s whole world; for peace and goodwill over all the earth; for the mission and unity of the Church for which Jesus died, and especially in this country and in this Lost Nation.” The double meaning of that last phrase was not lost on us who then began to chant in the darkness: 

O Come, Desire of nations, bind in one the heart of all humankind; bid thou our sad divisions cease, and be thyself our King of Peace. (Hymn 56, v.7)

The Episcopal Church of New Hampshire